Wednesday, November 17, 2004

Fritz Hollings' Farewell Speech

Fritz Hollings, Senator from South Carolina, gave his farewell speech on the Senate floor. In Hollings' typical irreverent style, he made these comments excerpted from Fox News:

"I don't leave with the idea that the Senate is not what it used to be... We've got a way better group of senators," he said, recalling that when he arrived in Washington in 1966, "We had five drunks or six drunks."

He said now, "We don't have time to be drunks."

Hollings noted that there was only one woman, Margaret Chase Smith (search), R-Maine, in his first years in the Senate, and that she was "outstandingly quiet."

"Now we've got 15 or 17 and you can't shut them up," he joked. There are 14 women senators.

Apparently this is typical Fritz. He's an 82 year old man with a long history in the Senate. They were meant to be jokes and they're being taken as such. I thought they were funny. The thing I want to point out, though, is the double standard. I wonder what the reaction would have been if a republican had made these jokes. Would it be all over the media? Would women's groups come out denouncing the whole party because of these few words? Would women Senators go on camera talking about how shocked they are that this kind of Neanderthal thinking still had a place in the Republican Party? Of course we can't ever know for sure, but I tend to think we'd be getting a different reaction from the media and other groups had Fritz been a Republican, I mean, look at what happened to Sen. Trent Lott.